Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Swallowtail Butterfly, And A Rainbow. 06-26-2024

Greetings from San Cristobal, NM. This week a beautiful swallowtail butterfly and the business end of a rainbow across the valley. Sometimes it seems that the world presents itself at my doorstep. It reminds me of a favorite quote:

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

The swallowtail butterfly has a routine it follows. Shortly after my morning ablutions the butterfly arrives and proceeds with its morning route around the garden. Same plants every day. A creature of habit.

Swallowtail Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly.

This pine shoot caught my eye on the trail, spotlighted in the morning sunshine.

Pine shoot Italianos Trail Hondo Canyon, NM
Pine shoot, Italianos Canyon Trail, NM.

Without leaving my room, without leaving my chair, this presented itself over the ridge, across the valley. I did get up and go out for the shot.

Rainbow cloud, San Cristobal, NM
Rainbow Cloud, San Cristobal, NM.

A closer observation with a 400mm lens.

Close up Rainbow cloud, San Cristobal, NM
Close-up of the Rainbow Cloud, San Cristobal, NM.

Does anyone have a precise identification of this bird? It showed up on the feeder about a week ago and I haven’t seen it since. Thanks in advance for the help. Thanks to my friend Larry for his offerings.

Mystery bird
Mystery bird.

As always, thank you for looking, and a big thank you for all the comments and compliments on last week’s post on “Random Abstraction”. I appreciate it very much. Have a great week where you are. G

PS: The bird ID app Merlin suggests it is a Juvenile European Starling.

“Stocky and dark overall with short tail and triangular wings. A close look reveals beautiful plumage: in breeding season, look for purple and green iridescence and a yellow bill. In winter, shows extensive white and buffy spots over the entire body. Juveniles are plain grayish-brown; note bill shape. Native to Eurasia; introduced extensively across the globe. Often abundant, gathering in large flocks in open agricultural areas and towns and cities. Makes a variety of squeaky vocalizations, and often mimics other species.”

14 thoughts on “Swallowtail Butterfly, And A Rainbow. 06-26-2024”

  1. G
    My sister is a Certified Audubon Naturalist who has travelled the world birding. This is what she said about the bird on your feeder. I hope all is well in San Cristobal. We’re looking forward to our stay in Taos in the Fall. See you down the road.

    I’m not great at western birds, but I think it is a juvenile Common Grackle, subspecies “Bronzed” Common Grackle found in Rocky Mtns and Canada in the summer.

    • Doing well here Mark. Thanks for asking and going to your expert source. I’m going with female redwing black bird given the consensus of opinions. See you soon. Stay cool and keep on shooting. G

  2. Hi, Geraint. My first thought on the bird was a juvie European Starling. I see someone else guessed female Red-Winged Blackbird which could also be right – so one of those two likely. Great pics as always!


    • Thanks for your input, Paul. I’m going with female red winged blackbird, until someone comes up with an alternative, definitive answer. I hope you are well and having a good summer shooting. G

  3. Yes, juvenile something. It is that time of year. Lately I saw two birds behaving in a strange way, and they had an appearance that I did not recognize. So I’m thinking it was a juvie at your feeder.
    Great photos!

    • Thanks for your initial response to my question via email. I really appreciate it and your friendship. Thanks so much Larry. G

  4. Looks very similar to our young starlings in Britain. They gather in large numbers and give aerobatic displays before roosting. It has a name think it’s murmeration. Thankyou for making me think.


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